Enucleation is the surgical procedure in which the eyeball is removed and replaced with an implant. There are several reasons that an enucleation is performed: it could be removed to eliminate a malignant tumor that has developed within the eye, to alleviate uncontrollable pain in a blind eye, or to reduce the risk of “sympathetic” inflammation of the remaining eye when one eye has been severely injured and blinded.
Evisceration is a procedure identical to enucleation with an exception in that the sclera (the white part of the eye) is not removed in the former. In conditions where an intraocular tumor is suspected and the entire globe (eyeball) needs to be removed, an evisceration is not recommended.
Although many patients who require either enucleation or evisceration surgery have little to no vision in their eye, it must be made clear that the enucleation procedure will result in instantaneous, permanent, and total blindness of that eye. The procedure can be performed under general anesthesia or local anesthesia with mild sedation.
All patients who undergo this procedure will require an artificial eye (ocular prosthesis) as a cosmetic substitute for their natural eye. The ocular prosthesis is made by an ocularist, an artist, who will try to match the exact color, shape, and texture of the other eye. The prosthesis is usually made 4 to 6 weeks after the surger